After falling behind 3-1 at the start of the second period, the Fort Wayne Komets did what they do best: they came back and defeated the Quad City Mallards 4-3 after scoring three unanswered goals. The Komets now lead the series 1-0.
The Komets came out attacking, peppering Mallards goaltender CJ Motte early. The Komets obtained an early power play less than two minutes in when Mallards forward Justin MacDonald took a minor for high-sticking. The Komets did not convert on that early special teams opportunity. The Mallards countered the Komets pressure 10:48 in as forward Alex Petan struck for Quad City to make it 1-0. Six minutes later, Mallards forward Grant Arnold took a terrific pass from Petan to extend the Quad City lead to 2-0. With a little more than two minutes left, Komets forward Kyle Thomas and Mallards defenseman Dylan Labbe got into a shoving match behind Motte, which lead to matching minors for roughing. Neither team capitalized on the four-on-four opportunity. With 16.7 seconds remaining in the opening frame, Mike Cazzola converted on a rebound off the back end-boards from a shot by Jason Binkley to halve the Mallards lead to 2-1. The Komets led the Mallards in shots on goal 15-8 at the end of the first.
Despite the Komets ending the first period on a Mike Cazzola tally, the Mallards struck first 2:35 in with a Michael Parks goal with assists from defenseman Chris Leibinger and forward Nolan LaPorte to make it 3-1 Quad City. After that, it was all Fort Wayne, pouring 17 shots on goal in the second on Motte, two of those getting past him. The first one came 13:22 in when Komets forward Gabriel Desjardins spun and shot from the blue line on the Mallards goaltender and Komets forward Travis Ewanyk got his stick blade on it and tipped it past Motte to halve the Mallards lead once again to 3-2. 2:03 later, Komets all-star forward Shawn Szydlowski tallied on a clapper from the faceoff circle on the power play to tie the game at three. Cazzola acquired his second point of the game with an assist on the power play tally. The Komets limited Quad City to two shots on goal in the second period for a total of ten for the game. The Komets tallied 17 in the second for a total of 32 for the game.
The third period started with a great check from Komets defenseman Will Weber on Mallards forward Petan. Petan did not like it and viciously high sticked Weber in the face. Blood was left on the ice and Weber did not return to the game. The Komets were granted a four-minute power play 6:50 into the third period. The Komets did not convert on the extended man advantage. With 7:03 remaining in regulation, Desjardins tucked the puck between Motte’s pads to give the Komets their first lead of the game at 4-3. With 1:20 remaining, the Mallards pulled Motte, giving them the man advantage. Warning was on the doorstep for the Mallards, among other chances, but none of them found the back of the net, as the Komets held on to the 4-3 victory. We may have heard the horn for the end of the game, but the players did not, as the two teams converged and players were escorted off the ice. Warning was called for slashing for Quad City and Dan Milan for the Komets was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. The goals showed a close game, but the shots on goal showed otherwise. The Komets finished with the lead in shots on goal 37-13.
Cazzola, Desjardins, Ewanyk and Thompson all tallied two points for the Komets in Game 1. Komets goaltender Pat Nagle only had to make ten saves to clinch a Komets victory. The Komets outshot the Mallards 37-13. Komets defenseman Weber left the game in the third period and never returned after a vicious high stick to the face from Mallards forward Petan.
1.Gabriel Desjardins (FW, GWG, 1A, 4 SOG, +2)
2.Travis Ewanyk (FW, 1G, 1A, 1 SOG, +2)
3.Shawn Szydlowski (FW, 1G, 3 SOG)
The Fort Wayne Komets take on the Quad City Mallards for Game 2 of Round 1 of the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs. The game will take place at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne on Saturday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. The Komets currently lead the series 1-0.